School Crime (A BJS Report)

School Crime (A BJS Report)

Bureau of Justice Statistics

Bureau of Justice Statistics. (1992). "School Crime (A BJS Report)." Alaska Justice Forum 8(4): 2-3 (Winter 1992). An estimated 9% of students, age 12 to 19, were crime victims in or around their school over a six-month period, according to a nationally representative sample survey of more than 10,000 youth conducted in 1989. Based on the BJS report 'School Crime: A National Crime Victimization Survey,' NCJ-131645.

An estimated 9 per cent of students, ages 12 to 19, were crime victims in or around their school over a six month period: two per cent reported experiencing one or more violent crime and 7 per cent reported at least one property crime. Violent crime is largely composed of simple assaults. These crimes involve attacks without weapons and may result in minor injury, such as cuts or bruises. Violent crimes can also include aggravated assaults, robberies and rapes.

These findings are based on a nationally representative sample survey of more than 10,000 youth who were interviewed from January through June of 1989 and who attended school at any time during the six months before the interview. The School Crime Supplement (SCS) was conducted as an enhancement of the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), an ongoing household survey that gathers information on the victimization of household members age twelve or older. The survey asks only about crimes that have occurred during the six months before the interview.

Other findings from the SCS include the following:

• Victimization by violent crime at school had no consistent relationship to income levels of the victims' families. For property crime, however, students in families with annual incomes of $50,000 or more were more likely to be victimized than were students whose families earned less than $10,000 a year.

Table 1. Students Reporting at Least One Victimization at School, By Personal and Family Characteristics

Drugs and Alcohol

• In the first half of 1989 about 30 per cent of the students interviewed believed that marijuana was easy to obtain at school. In comparison, 9 per cent said crack was easy to obtain, and 11 per cent claimed cocaine to be readily available.

• Overall, students most frequently reported that drugs of any type were hard or impossible to obtain at school. Approximately 58 per cent of students said cocaine and crack were hard or impossible to obtain at school.

• Students attending schools in which drugs were available were more likely than students in schools without drugs to indicate that their schools were taking some action to prevent drug use (91% versus 74%).

Table 2. Availability of Drugs or Alcohol at School, By Type of Drug

Gangs and Attacks on Teachers

• Seventy-nine per cent of students said no gangs existed at their schools; 15 per cent reported gangs, while another 5 per cent were not sure whether gangs existed at their schools.

• Of those students who said there were or could be gangs at their school, 37 per cent reported that the gang members never fought at school. An additional 19 per cent claimed that gang members fought once or twice a year, while 12 per cent said that members fought once or twice a week, or even every day.

• Sixteen per cent of respondents claimed that a student had attacked or threatened a teacher at their school in the six months before the interview. Nearly three-fourths said no attacks or threats against teachers had occurred at their schools, and an additional 11 per cent did not know.

• Victims of violent crimes were about 3 times as likely as nonvictims to report they were afraid of being attacked at school (53% versus 19%). The overwhelming majority of students who had not been victimized reported no fear of attack, either at school (81 % ) or on the way to and from school (87%).

Table 3. Students Reporting Gangs at School and Attacks on Teachers

Table 4. Victimization of Students, By Gang Presence at School


• Two per cent of students had taken something to school to protect themselves from attack or harm at least once during a six month period. Objects for protection could have included weapons like a gun, knife or brass knuckles or things that could be used as weapons-razor blades, spiked jewelry and other objects capable of hurting an assailant.

• Students in central cities (3%) were more likely than those in the suburbs (2%) to report taking to school something that could be used as a weapon; students in nonmetropolitan areas (1 % ) were the least likely to arm themselves with objects for protection. Males (3%) were slightly more likely than females (1 % ) to take such objects to school.

This article was based on the Bureau of Justice Statistics study "School Crime: A National Crime Victimization Survey Report," NCJ-131645. Copies of the entire report are available through the Alaska Statistical Analysis Unit of the Justice Center.